Words: Victoria Hicks
Gorilla has become the go-to venue for upcoming acts, with artists such as Pussy Riot and Declan McKenna performing here in recent months, and popular DJ’s & producers bringing mini raves to the venue every weekend. It’s a venue suitable for any kind of artist, being just off Oxford Road, and even comes with a set of disco balls. Tonight, Welsh singer Betsy is performing, and support act Sonia Stein is already doing a pretty good job at warming up the crowd.
Sonia just seems like the loveliest person, and her voice is so pure and sweet. She’s so petite, but with the purple stage lights illuminating her, she suddenly becomes the one and only focus. During opening song, ‘Lotta U’, you can tell the music is just flowing through her, as she sways from side to side, eyes closed. ‘One Of Those Things’ is from her upcoming E.P, a song about denial, you can hear the emotion coming through in her voice. I can’t believe I haven’t heard about Sonia Stein before- she is such a talented songwriter, with each song being about a particular topic that has affected her. Despite only being backed by a guitar and set of keys, the songs she plays sound so full. The melodies she sings and the chords played by the guitar just work so sweetly- it’s simplistic, yet beautiful.
The build-up to Betsy’s performance is so atmospheric, she looks so stylish and like such a force, especially with an all-female band providing a unique mix of keys, string and percussion. Her voice is incredible, genuinely so amazing and sets her apart from all the other singers you hear in the charts. It works like a dream with the music. Already respected and loved by her fans, who furiously sing along, arms in the air to ‘Waiting’. One thing that sticks out to me, is how Betsy has such a similar vocal tone to Cher, like, eerily similar. ‘So Much Love’ is such a bop. It’s powerful, easy to dance to, and has the crowd literally screaming at her by the end of it.
‘’Right, get dancin’- here we go’’, demands Betsy, in her Welsh dulcet tones. Dancing definitely comes easy with song ‘Hope’. She is so inspiring, the crowd gives all of their attention to her and I just can’t get over how powerful her voice is. It’s mesmerising. ‘Can’t stand a sober crowd’ laughs Betsy. I’ve already been watching her for 22 minutes and I already love her so much. On top of being an insane vocalist, she is just no-filter, purely herself. ‘Rosie’, a song about her brother’s best friend who sadly died 10 years ago, is the most painfully moving song I’ve heard in years…it’s haunting. No one in the room speaks, and I’m sure more than a few people have been moved to tears.
When Betsy bursts into Cher’s ‘Believe’, that to me is one of the stand out moments of the gig as Betsy gives the song so much justice and the venue is turned into one huge party. ‘Last Time You Danced’ ramps up the temperature in the room, and it is so good as someone reviewing it to see the crowd being carefree and just loving the music they are hearing. They give Betsy everything, with one guy briefly taking to someone’s shoulders. Betsy doesn’t even have to try too hard to engage with the crowd, she is just unequivocally herself, and that- mixed with the amazing performance- is the reason why people are chanting her name for the encore. Last song ‘Wanted More’ just brings pure joy to myself and the entire room; she is an angel and I cannot stress how talented she is. The songs Betsy has already produced are all so high quality, I just can’t wait to hear what she comes out with next.